Illinois is one of the few states with a law requiring divorced parents to contribute to their children’s college educations. If you are ending your marriage and have children together, you should address this question as part of your divorce agreement.

Review the state laws about college expenses after divorce before you officially file.

Types of education costs

The law covers expenses associated with vocational school, college, university or professional school for children between ages 18 and 25. In addition to funding for tuition and fees, Illinois courts can require parents to pay for on-campus or off-campus housing expenses, supplies, books, medical and dental insurance, food, and transportation.

Amount of education support

The state bases reasonable college costs on the current average tuition, room and board for students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The judge has discretion to adjust this amount based on:

  • The financial resources of each parent, accounting for retirement savings
  • The family’s standard of living before the divorce
  • Existing college savings for the child
  • The child’s level of academic achievement

These factors help the court make an fair arrangement for both parents that serves the child’s interests.

You no longer have an obligation to provide education support when your student turns 23, earns a bachelor’s degree, marries or fails to earn at least a C average. You cannot discontinue support if your child becomes pregnant or enrolls in the military.

Parents can agree to provide support until the child turns 25 as a provision of the divorce. They can also establish a plan for education support for future children in a prenuptial agreement.